Solon slams DOTC for P1.88-B errata on MRT budget
MANILA, Philippines—A senior opposition lawmaker criticized the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for submitting a substantial errata on their budget supposedly for the upgrade and rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3.
During Wednesday’s House of Representatives transportation committee inquiry on the equity buyout on MRT, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said the errata would amend the budget bill even if it had already been approved by the plenary on second reading.
MRT 3 Director for Operations Renato San Jose said they sent a P1.8-billion errata on their P804-million budget.
Colmenares noted that the erratum is larger than the proposed budget.
“How can there be an error so large? It seems to show you don’t know what you need,” Colmenares said.
DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said they sent an errata because there is no supplemental budget that would be submitted to the House.
Colmenares said the DOTC seemed unprepared in crafting the budget for the MRT’s upgrade and rehabilitation.
He added that an errata only pertains to typographical errors and not on the budgetary amount.
“That errata will be subject to a serious constitutional challenge… You cannot amend the law on a mere errata on third reading,” Colmenares said.
Government is preparing its buyout of the private operator of the MRT 3 in a bid to end paying billions of rental fees as well as terminate the ongoing arbitration case between government and the MRT Corporation.
The buyout is being mulled amid constant breakdowns plaguing MRT commuters that culminated in a derailment that hurt 38 passengers. On August 13, an MRT train hurtled past the railway at its Taft Avenue station in Pasay City. The defective train was being pushed by another train when the coupler between them broke, sending it crashing through the metal stopper and concrete barrier of the last station.
Meanwhile, appropriations committee chairman Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab said the errata only pertains to realignment of funds and not an additional budget.
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